10 Steps to Home Ownership
Purchasing a home can be fun and exciting, but trying to decide where to begin can be frustrating and stressful. Here are 10 simple steps you can follow to help you through the home buying process.
Step 1: If financing is needed, get pre-approved. Avoid falling in love with homes or property that you can’t afford. Get pre-approved before you start your search. Speaking with a lender is as easy as making a 15-minute phone call, but it’s important to call an experienced loan officer who can meet your specific needs. Please call me to discuss your options or email me to receive a list of lenders who have provided great service for my clients.
Step 2: Select an Agent. Once you have determined your purchasing power and a comfortable price range it’s time for us to meet. At this initial meeting we will discuss your needs and wants, complete a Property Search Criteria form so that we can effectively search the current available properties for you to consider. We will also review the Buyer-Broker Agreement that outlines my role as your Exclusive Buyer’s Agent, the services I will provide to you as my client and explain to you how I am compensated from the seller. This will help you understand how I work on your behalf to guide you through the process of purchasing a new home or vacant property.
Step 3: Drive-by Homes. The active listings report from the Property Search Criteria mentioned above will serve as a guide for you to drive around the areas you are considering to see which locations and properties appeal to you most. If you are not in this area I can assist you in this preview process by taking specific photos of the area and property you are considering to help you narrow the field of possible properties prior to your visit.
Step 4: Tour Homes. Once you’ve identified properties and areas that you are interested in seeing, I will set up a tour so that we can see them together. At each property I will provide you with a complete listing report including the seller’s disclosure statements, survey or plat map, current zoning and property tax information as well as any other critical information about the property that is available. As we explore each property, I will give you my analysis pointing out the positive and negative features of the property and issues relating to its future resale value.
Step 5: Writing an offer. There is a lot of research that goes into writing an offer and it is different with each property. A carefully written offer is the key to a successful sale. Prior to writing the offer I will provide you with a comparative market analysis of the property and research any other market conditions that may have a positive or negative impact on the property you are considering. I will also advise you on negotiating strategy and work diligently to get you the best price and terms possible.
Step 6: Contingencies. Home inspections, financing, appraisals, surveys and due diligence. I’ll make sure protections like these are written into your offer and assist you in the process of ordering the inspections and releasing the contingencies as they are accomplished.
Step 7: Shopping Insurance. Speak with the company that provides your current home and auto insurance first. They are likely to give you the best price in order to keep all your insurance policies at their company. I also have a list of area insurance agencies for you to contact for additional quotes.
Step 8: Closing. An important part of closing is the final walk-through. This is where we inspect the property to make sure it is being conveyed to you in the same condition as it was when you decided to write the offer and that all personal property that was negotiated as part of the sale is present. Reviewing the closing statement and all documents of conveyance before final settlement is also a critical part of this process. I will attend the closing with you if it is local and will be available by phone if you are closing remotely. If you’d like to have an attorney review the closing documents and title to the property before settlement I can provide a list of real estate attorneys for you to contact.
Step 9: Moving in. It is the day we’ve all worked towards. Don’t forget to change your address, change the locks and set up new accounts with the utility companies and service providers. Enjoy!
Step 10: What’s next? Once you have moved into your new home, I hope that you will continue to think of me as a resource for you. I maintain a list of contractors who can assist you in home repairs, maintenance and remodeling as well as a list of service providers who will help you take care of even the smallest need to assure carefree ownership of your new home.